Sestak raised $1 million-plus in the spring
That gave him $4.2 million to take on Sen. Arlen Specter, who began the quarter with $6.7 million.
U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak plans to report this week that he raised a little more than $1 million in the second quarter this year, giving him $4.2 million in the bank for an expected Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter, campaign officials said yesterday.
"We believe this means we will have more cash on hand than any Senate challenger," said Joe Langdon, spokesman for Sestak's campaign committee. "As you know, this was achieved without the institutional support of the Democratic establishment."
Democratic leaders from President Obama and Gov. Rendell on down endorsed Specter as soon as the 28-year incumbent switched from the Republican Party in April.
Sestak, a second-term representative currently on an introductory tour of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, questions Specter's Democratic bona fides and argues that it is wrong for the party establishment to "anoint" Specter the 2010 nominee.
Wednesday is the deadline for reporting campaign contributions and expenditures from March 31 through June 30 to the Federal Election Commission. Sestak stepped up his fund-raising during that period, sending several e-mail and postal solicitations and working the phone.
Langdon said 85 percent of the money that Sestak planned to report had come in the last month.
Still, Sestak is likely to trail Specter in the cash race. On March 31, Specter's campaign account totaled $6.7 million, the most recent figure available, and the incumbent has had an active fund-raising schedule since then. Sestak had $3.3 million on March 31.
Specter's campaign declined to comment.
Last week, Specter fired back at Sestak's drumbeat of criticism, saying Sestak was a "flagrant hypocrite in challenging my being a real Democrat when he did not register as a Democrat until 2006, just in time to run for Congress."
Sestak, in his own statement, said he had registered as an independent during his Navy career because he felt it was important for military officers to be nonpartisan.
State Rep. Bill Kortz (D., Allegheny) also is running for the Senate nomination.